By Jenny Wells
The University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research (CAER) is one of eight entities to be selected by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to receive federal funds for research and development in "Novel and Enabling Carbon Capture Transformational Technologies" to address challenges and knowledge gaps associated with reducing the cost of carbon capture.
The $3 million cooperative agreement awarded to CAER will support their project, "Fog+Froth Based Post-Combustion CO2 Capture in Fossil Fuel Power Plants." Heather Nikolic, research program manager for CAER's power generation research team, will serve as principal investigator on the project. Kunlei Liu, associate director at CAER and associate professor of mechanical engineering in the UK College of Engineering, will serve as co-principal investigator.
“This project aspires to provide a nontraditional approach that can have a significant impact on the capital cost and to provide a pathway for implementation of CO2 capture,” Liu said. “We look forward to partnering with Industrial Climate Solutions Inc. (Calgary) as well as Nexant (San Francisco) and Smith Management Group (Lexington) as we move one step closer to a breakthrough for making carbon capture technology truly affordable.”
The main technology under study in the proposed work is an open-tower compact absorber.
“Through this exciting project we will work to lower the capital cost, reduce the footprint and minimize secondary environmental effects associated with CO2 capture,” Nikolic said.
Combined with other CAER carbon capture features, the proposed study could potentially reduce the capital cost of carbon capture and storage by 57 percent. Successful development of the proposed technology could have a multitude of public benefits, including the continued utilization of abundant, low-cost coal for the production of reliable electricity while affordably meeting and managing environmental concerns.
“By 2040 the world will still rely on fossil fuels for 77 percent of its energy use. Our goal is to produce them in a cleaner way,” U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry said. “These projects will allow America, and the world for that matter, to use both coal and natural gas with near-zero emissions.”
This transformational carbon capture project is funded by the DOE's Office of Fossil Energy’s Carbon Capture Program. The National Energy Technology Laboratory will manage the projects.